I'm not excited about the future anymore
Author's Note: This is one of the more difficult blog posts I've written in a long time. It's hard to write this because I was struggling to best organize and express my thoughts on this subject. I hope you'll read it fully before jumping to any conclusions.
I also recommend reading this blog post first before continuing on: Achievement Vs. Exploration In Education.
Definitely watch this video if you watched Toonami back in the day!
I'm not excited about the future anymore. Why?
Society if we lived an actual society.
I came across this YouTube comment the other day:
As someone who was literally 24 just a couple of weeks ago, I felt this comment to the core of my being.
I mean don't get me wrong. I have all my needs met. My wants are in arms reach. Objectively speaking, I have it good. But like Chris in the image, I don't feel motivated and inspired about tomorrow.
I feel indifferent about the future.
Those "same feelings of optimism and wonder" have turned into pessimism and lowered expectations. Tomorrow is the same as today, which was the same as yesterday. I wake up. I work. I play video games. I eat. I write. I sleep.
Rinse and repeat.
I'm not upset. I've accepted (and am content) with how things have turned out to be.
Yet, Chris is getting at something that I've been feeling for a long time, but didn't know how (or whether it made sense) to express in written form.
The best way to explain my indifference to the future is by looking at it collectively and individually.
The Collective Future In One Word: Bleak
It goes without saying that 2020 has been rough on just about everyone...except these guys below.
My first mistake was not becoming a billionaire before the pandemic occurred. Silly me!
Putting those seven aside, let's see how the rest of America is fairing:
Nearly 180,000 Americans dead...with no end in sight of the pandemic. But what about those still alive? How are they holding up?
From the top of the article:
The employment-population ratio — the number of employed people as a percentage of the U.S. adult population — plunged to 52.8% in May, meaning 47.2% of Americans are jobless.
Just these two facts alone make me pessimistic about America's future on a collective basis. What's there to be excited about or to look forward to?
I'm not even going to bother to comment on the current American economic/political/cultural drama that's emerged as a result of COVID-19. I think George Carlin says it best:
Even if you don't agree with what he's saying, hell, it's funny. Carlin's an amazing comedian!
So yeah, on the collective front, there's really not much to look forward to from my perspective. What about individually?
The Individual Future In One Word: Boring
Like I said earlier, life has turned into a stale routine for me. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with this, it's mostly a part of being a full-time working adult.
But I don't really get excited about tomorrow - I merely expect it to come. Same shit, different day. Outside of work, it feels like I'm stuck in the late 2000s to early 2010s. All of the content I consume, from TV and music to video games and movies, was born in that frequently-visited time period.
Nostalgia is one hell of a drug! When it comes to games, I'm playing Halo and Call of Duty, like I was when I was in my teens, not Fortnite or Apex Legends like people my age today. I'm listening to Linkin Park and hip-hop music from the late 2000s from Kanye, Jeezy, Lil Wayne, T.I. and a couple of others.
Kids today do it for the TikTok, while back in my day, I did it for the Vine.
I don't give a shit about Rick and Morty, Game of Thrones, Lil (insert object for name of rapper here), or the latest edition of a blockbuster superhero saga (sorry Marvel fans!). I don't care - if you asked me what I thought about whether Carole Baskin did god-knows-what to her husband, I wouldn't know what to tell you.
And the strangest thing is, I've found I'm perfectly content with how things are going. I mean, I did all the things I was supposed to do: do well in school, do well in college, do well in my internships, and now I'm doing well in my job.
I'm a perfectly well-adjusted adult who's always done what has been expected of him and achieved the things society says he should achieve. Things have worked out for me.
I just didn't realize "success" would be so boring.
So where do I, we, go from here?
Creating A Future Worth Being Excited For
To tell you the truth, even with all I said above, there's still the promise of a bright individual future for oneself (assuming you can meet your basic needs in pandemic-stricken America!).
Where there is bleakness, there lies hope.
Coronavirus has kept us from the things that collectively provide a sense of meaning externally: our schools, places of worship, sporting games, concerts, and other places of gathering. These institutions foster a sense of community and shared destiny. Yet, given American culture's penchant to achieve and accumulate, rather than to be introspective and thoughtful, most don't take the opportunities presented to them to cultivate an internal sense of meaning. That kind of exploration of the self isn't taught or encouraged in schools.
(Note: this shouldn't be read as American society itself is meaningless. There are still plenty of meaningful things about American culture. It's more of that America has been recently doing a poor job of providing collective meaning to its society, given a lot of people have died preventable deaths.)
But look at the flip side - now that we can't go out and normally consume (mindlessly) like usual, we have time to be alone and think about what we really want out of life (ideally, only if you have all of your basic needs met, which many do not right now).
I think for those rare, few individuals who have the time and energy to look within to find meaning, they'll come out of this pandemic stronger than ever. Once a man has a 'why', he can bear almost any 'how.'
I don't really have any expectations of America anymore when it comes to providing a sense of meaning collectively. I mean, look at how the pandemic is being handled. The country has one job in a time like this, which is to keep people safe from COVID-19.
It can't even do that. Thus, it's best to have no expectations. That way, you can't be disappointed!
That's all I have for now. The future still has promise, it's just up to you to realize it.
Toonami's TOM was always the best. Thank you for inspiring me still to this day.